NYPD Officer Richard Haste, who killed unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in his Bronx home five years ago after police entered the apartment without a warrant, resigned over the weekend. The NYPD evidently extended Haste the courtesy of alerting him to his imminent firing, allowing him to retire Sunday rather than face termination. At a press conference outside One Police Plaza on Monday, Ramarley Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, noted that the courtesy the City has shown Haste has been conspicuously absent in its dealings with her.
“Commissioner O’Neill agreed to meet with me; we still haven’t got that,” Malcolm told reporters, adding that she was concerned that Haste may be allowed to continue to carry a firearm, and even to work for another police department.
But she reserved the bulk of her criticism for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who won office calling for police reform, but has so far kept Ramarley Graham’s family’s quest for justice at arms-length.
“Mayor de Blasio flat out denied meeting with me,” Malcolm said. “Mayor de Blasio, all he’s worried about is his political re-hire for mayor. But if that’s the case, if it’s up to me, he won’t get another term in this city….Mayor de Blasio, you show us time and time again that Black lives don’t matter to you. But I’m here to say, Ramarley’s life matters.”
Malcolm said de Blasio’s silence on the case belies calls into question the sincerity of his commitment to police reform, “He talks about bridging the gap between community and police. Start by giving us accountability. This was a perfect case to show us that our young men and women matter when they’ve been killed unjustly by police. But instead, you took the easy way out by letting this man resign,” she said. “The Mayor needs to grow a backbone. Since the NYPD turned their backs on him, he’s been so soft on them.”
The NYPD press office declined to answer questions posed over the phone and did not respond to emailed questions by the time of publication. A departmental inquiry reportedly found that Haste “exercised poor tactical judgment leading up to the discharge of his firearm” and “acted with intent to cause serious physical injury leading to the death” of Graham.
In an interview with the New York Daily News today, Haste said that he understood Malcolm’s frustration, and said that while he has wanted to speak with Graham’s family from the beginning, he has been prevented from doing so by the NYPD’s press department.
Malcolm said she was unimpressed by Haste’s sincerity.
“Richard Haste went through that trial and lied up there,” she said. “Now you want to meet with me? That was your opportunity, up on that stand. So no, I won’t meet with him…. he has no remorse…. You know you did something wrong, you should forget about PD, PBA or whoever was telling you not to speak to me. You’re a grown man. You make your own decision. When you broke in that door, you made your own decision to go inside there. Nobody pushed you inside there…. He had a lot of opportunities to apologize, and he didn’t.”
Malcolm said she will continue to fight for justice for her son. She is calling for the NYPD to fire two other officers facing disciplinary hearings in the killing of Graham, wants a meeting with de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill, and wants the final report of Haste’s departmental trial made public. She is also contemplating a lawsuit against the Police Department over its blanket denial of her Freedom of Information Law request for documents related to Grahams death and its aftermath.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 27, 2017